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Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are located at the back of the mouth and typically emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. While some people have enough room for their wisdom teeth to grow in without issue, many others experience pain, infection, and other problems that require wisdom tooth removal.

If you're one of the many people who need wisdom teeth removal, you may be wondering how long it will take to recover. Most people find the pain and swelling from wisdom teeth surgery subsides within 3–5 days, but it can take up to 2 weeks to fully recover.

Wisdom Tooth Removal Recovery Time

The average recovery time for wisdom tooth extraction is typically only a few days before most people start feeling better. Although, some people may experience discomfort for longer periods because we all recover a little differently. 

It’s important to follow your dentist’s specific instructions for recovery because we can provide advice based on our first-hand knowledge of your particular needs and personal health.

What Happens After Your Wisdom Teeth Are Removed?

Wisdom teeth removal is typically a relatively quick procedure. All 4 teeth can usually be removed within an hour, but recovering after the procedure is over is an equally important part of the process.

Pain Management

Pain management is an important part of recovery after wisdom tooth extraction. Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve discomfort caused by inflammation and the procedure itself.

Your dentist may also prescribe stronger pain relievers in some cases. It’s important to follow your dentist’s or pharmacist's instructions with prescription painkillers, as they are typically much stronger than OTC medications and may require specific dosages.

Additionally, applying a cold compress to the affected area can help reduce pain and swelling.


What you eat and drink after surgery can affect your recovery. Stick to soft foods like soup, mashed potatoes, and yogurt for the first few days. Avoid hot and spicy foods, as well as crunchy or chewy foods that could irritate the surgical area. Drink plenty of water, but avoid using a straw for at least a day, as suction can dislodge the blood clots in your mouth.

There are a few foods and habits you should avoid for at least 24 hours following the extraction, as they can lead to complications or prolong the healing process, including:

  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Alcohol
  • Hot drinks
  • Tobacco use—including smoking and vaping
  • Rinsing your mouth and spitting

Oral Hygiene

Keeping your mouth clean is essential for proper healing after wisdom tooth removal. Brush your teeth gently and avoid the surgical area for the first few days. You can also rinse your mouth with warm salt water to promote healing. 

Be sure to follow your dentist's instructions for post-operative care. We can recommend a modified oral hygiene routine for a few days to allow your mouth to begin healing.

Follow-Up Visits

Finally, it's important to attend any follow-up visits with your dentist. These appointments allow us to monitor your healing progress and confirm everything is going according to plan. During these visits, we may prescribe an antibiotic to prevent or fight an infection if pain, bleeding, or swelling has not decreased.

Always follow your dentist's post-operative instructions carefully to avoid complications such as dry sockets, which can prolong your recovery time.

A woman using a warm compress to soothe wisdom tooth removal pain.

How Long Does It Take to Fully Recover from Wisdom Tooth Surgery?

Many people experience relief from their discomfort within 3–5 days, but it can take up to 2 weeks to fully recover from the procedure if there are any complications during the surgery or during recovery.

You should ultimately refer to your dentist on when you can return to normal activity, especially a physical job or high-intensity sports. But a few signs your recovery is going well may include:

  • A continued decrease in swelling, bruising, or pain in your mouth and cheeks
  • Jaw mobility (being able to open and close it comfortably) returning to normal
  • No more tingling, bleeding, or bad taste left in your mouth

Talk with Your Dentist About Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Recovering from wisdom teeth extraction is a process that requires patience and careful attention to your dental health. If you notice symptoms worsening or not improving after the 3rd or 4th day, you should reach out to your dentist so they can examine your mouth.

If you haven’t had your wisdom teeth out yet and you’re simply looking ahead to see what to expect, don’t let the things you read today discourage you. Wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure, and we can provide you with relevant, personalized information surrounding any potential risks versus the potential benefits of having the surgery.

Give us a call at Skypointe Dental to book an exam. One of our experienced dentists can review your needs with you and answer your questions about wisdom tooth removal.

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are often the source of many dental problems. They are the last set of teeth to develop in the human mouth and can cause various issues, from crowding and misalignment of other teeth to infections and cysts.

Wisdom teeth removal is necessary for many people to maintain good oral health. But why do we even have wisdom teeth in the first place? Are they really necessary? Or are they just a relic of our ancestors that have outlived their usefulness?

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to develop in the human mouth. They typically emerge between the ages of 17 and 21 and are located at the back of the mouth, behind the second molars.

Wisdom teeth are the evolutionary remnant of our ancestors, who had larger jaws to accommodate more teeth. But as human jaws have evolved to be smaller, there’s often not enough room for these teeth to fully emerge and develop properly.

Wisdom teeth can develop in different ways, such as:

  • Erupted: fully grown and visible in the mouth
  • Partially erupted: grown out of the gum but not fully visible
  • Impacted: unable to grow out of the gum because there isn't enough space
  • Soft tissue impaction: gum tissue covers the tooth
  • Bone impaction: the tooth is covered by the jawbone

The position and development of wisdom teeth can vary significantly from person to person. Some people may have all four wisdom teeth fully grown, while others may have none.

An x-ray of a misaligned wisdom tooth

Reasons to Remove Wisdom Teeth

Crowding and Misalignment

Wisdom teeth can cause crowding and misaligning of other teeth in the mouth. As the wisdom teeth push through the gums, they can go against the other teeth, causing them to shift out of place.

This can lead to a variety of dental problems, including bite issues, difficulty cleaning the teeth, and an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Crowding can cause the front teeth to overlap, making it hard to clean and brush them properly.

Misalignment can also make it difficult to chew correctly and cause headaches, jaw pain and other problems.

Impacted Teeth

Another reason wisdom teeth may need to be removed is that they can become impacted, meaning they do not fully emerge from the gums. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain and swelling and lead to infection.

The pressure of the tooth trying to emerge can cause the gum to become inflamed and infected; this can be very painful and can lead to a fever or difficulty opening the mouth. Impacted wisdom teeth can also lead to the development of cysts, which can cause severe damage to the jawbone and surrounding teeth.

Difficulty Cleaning

Additionally, wisdom teeth can be difficult to clean, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. The back of the mouth is already difficult to reach and clean, and the added presence of wisdom teeth can make it even more challenging.

Pre-Existing Dental Issues

If you already have pre-existing dental issues such as overbite, underbite, or crowded teeth, the presence of wisdom teeth can further complicate the problem and make it harder to treat.

In these cases, the removal of wisdom teeth can be beneficial to alleviate the symptoms and allow for proper treatment of pre-existing dental issues.

When Don’t You Need to Remove Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth removal is not always necessary. Here are a few situations when it may not be recommended to remove wisdom teeth:

  • Fully erupted teeth: If the wisdom teeth are fully erupted and are not causing any problems, such as pain, infection, or shifting of other teeth, there may be no need to remove them. They can be kept and maintained just like any other teeth.
  • No crowding or impacted teeth: If the wisdom teeth are not causing any crowding or impaction of the other teeth, there may be no need to remove them. A dentist can evaluate this with X-ray imaging.
  • Good oral hygiene: If a person maintains good oral hygiene and regularly visits the dentist for check-ups, the wisdom teeth may not need to be removed. Regular cleaning and monitoring can help prevent potential problems from arising.

Get an Oral Checkup with Skypointe Dental

Wisdom teeth can be a source of many dental problems, and their removal is often necessary to maintain good oral health. It's essential to be aware of the potential issues wisdom teeth can cause and consult with a dental professional if you have any concerns.Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns about your wisdom teeth or overall oral health.

Wisdom teeth removal can be a sensitive topic for some. The soreness and recovery time of wisdom teeth removal can have you on the sidelines for a few days. Your dental professional can help determine when it’s time for you to get the procedure done. 

While the initial soreness and discomfort can be challenging to manage, a big concern for many is how to eat after wisdom teeth removal.

Let’s take a closer look at the wisdom teeth removal process, including aftercare and how to eat after the procedure.

Why Do Your Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?

Wisdom teeth usually start making themselves known between the ages of 16 and 23. Wisdom teeth, known as the third molars, may need to be removed if they become impacted or trapped under the gum line

Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed. Your dentist can help determine if there isn’t enough room for the wisdom teeth to grow and recommend if you need removal to prevent development issues later in life.

Some common signs and symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth can include: 

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Swelling in the jaw area
  • Jaw pain
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty opening your mouth

Wisdom teeth may grow at an angle where they press into the second molars causing pain and potentially damaging your teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can become infected, cause tooth decay or cysts, and cause pain if left untreated. 

Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure. During the procedure, you may be administered anesthesia, before your surgeon removes the impacted teeth, cleans the site, and adds stitches to promote healing if necessary. 

The Recovery Process

The wisdom teeth removal process can often be completed in an hour with your oral surgeon or dentist. Your doctor may provide painkillers and instructions for post-surgery care as the wounds heal.

Your wisdom teeth removal procedure could leave your jaw swollen, leading to discomfort for several days. Wounds typically heal in 10 days to 2 weeks

During that time, it helps to monitor your diet and what you eat.

A woman holding a warm compress to her cheek to help the pain from wisdom teeth removal

Eating After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Everyone loves a good meal, but wisdom teeth removal may require a special approach to your diet. During the recovery process, it’s helpful to populate your diet with soft foods and soup to promote healing.

Some examples of soft foods and liquids you can incorporate into your diet include: 

  • Yogurt
  • Smoothies (without seeds)
  • Apple sauce
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Jell-O
  • Pudding

These foods require minimal chewing and may be easier on your teeth and jaw. Colder soft foods may also alleviate some soreness and discomfort while you recover. As the healing process progresses, you can slowly begin incorporating more solid foods.

Along with these foods you can add to your diet, there are some foods and liquids that you should avoid following wisdom teeth removal, like: 

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Acidic & spicy foods
  • Grains
  • Hard or difficult-to-chew foods like nuts or chips

It’s also important to avoid brushing your healing wounds during your oral hygiene routine. You should also avoid cigarettes, vaping, and mouthwash to avoid the risk of infection. Saltwater is a good alternative if you want to rinse your mouth.

Putting Wisdom Teeth Removal Behind You

Some people may want to delay wisdom teeth removal, but it’s a good idea to get it out of the way as soon as your dentist recommends it. Your comfort is key, and the wisdom teeth recovery process spans around 2 weeks. What you eat can help promote healing, and it’s important to incorporate soft food and liquids to alleviate discomfort.

Book an appointment with the team at Skypointe Dental to have a complete exam and see if it’s time to schedule your wisdom teeth removal. 

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